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News & Updates

Exciting News: Announcing the Rutgers Climate Institute!

Rutgers Climate and Environmental Change Initiative and Rutgers Initiative on Climate and Society are merging into the Rutgers Climate Institute (RCI) as of September 1st. Co-Directors of RCI are Professor Anthony Broccoli (Department of Environmental Sciences) and Professor Robin Leichenko (Department of Geography). Events, news, initiatives and resources will be unveiled over the coming months, along with our new website. For questions, contact Associate Director, Marjorie Kaplan (kaplan@envsci.rutgers.edu).


October 4, 2013. Rutgers Climate Education Workshop. A Rutgers Climate Institute workshop limited to Rutgers faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students aimed at identifying shared challenges in teaching climate change to undergraduates and beginning to identify tactics and resources available to instructors for addressing these challenges. Professor Diane Ebert-May, Michigan State University will help us conduct this interactive workshop. Participants should bring a climate change lesson plan, syllabus or class notes from which they will work during the interactive sessions. Event will be held from 10 am to 3 pm at the Cook Campus Center. Registration is required. View the agenda here. Register here by October 1st. Note: This event is limited to Rutgers faculty, staff, post-docs, and graduate students.


Save The Date! October 14, 2013Bridging the Climate Divide: Informing the Response to Hurricane Sandy and Implications for Future Vulnerability. This conference is open to the Rutgers community and public highlighting the scholarship that Rutgers faculty and staff continue to bring to the climate change arena in commemoration of the 1st anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Cook Campus Center.  See the agenda here and register here.


Climate Access Internship for Rutgers students through the Rutgers SPIN program. Click here to learn more. (Word Doc)


NSF Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Program Fellowship: Social Science Partnership with NOAA.  One to 3 year fellowship in which scientists partner with and are based at a government agency. Targets interdisciplinary research and education enabling scientists to apply their research and management and policy priorities while working directly with Federal program managers and decision makers. Social science is gaining increased attention within NOAA and, consequently, we are seeking  partnerships with social scientists who would like to apply their research to NOAA priorities — weather, climate, coasts and fisheries. We are particularly keen to pursue partnerships related to the following social science areas:

  • Risk communication to understand how best to convey hazard warnings to the public
  • Weather response behavior to understand how to ensure timely and effective protective actions
  • Socioeconomic assessments to optimize marine fisheries management
  • Ecosystem service valuations to demonstrate the importance of coastal management
  • Interdisciplinary decision support work for climate assessments
  • Social coastal vulnerabilities to understand and mitigate risk
  • Incorporation of economics into resource damage assessments
  • Understanding and communicating the value of NOAA’s products and services

To pursue this opportunity, please review the NSF Fellowship solicitation - click solicitation 12-601). This opportunity is open to early-career scholars (within 36 months of receiving their Ph.D. and not tenure-track). SEES awards provide salary support, research expenses and travel support for a maximum of 3 years. Twenty awards were granted last year. Proposals are due November 21, 2013. Questions about NSF-specific issues can be addressed to Dr. Robert O’Connor (roconnor@nsf.gov).

If your interests are relevant to the above NOAA topics, and you would like to pursue a partnership,  please contact Leah Bunce Karrer of NOAA leah.karrer@noaa.gov who will connect you with NOAA colleagues with relevant interests.


Jersey Fresh Farmers Market on Cook Campus—Every Thursday this September and October from 11 am to 3 pm on Nichol Ave behind the bookstore on Cook Campus. Sponsored by the SEBS Governing Council, New Brunswick Farmers Market, Rutgers Against Hunger, Slow Food Rutgers, and the Cook Campus Dean. Make sure to be green and bring a bag!


August 28, 2013. Is Global Warming Really Slowing Down?  Professor Anthony Broccoli, a Co-Director of the Rutgers Climate Institute, was featured in a recent Mother Jones article addressing the global mean surface temperature slowdown.  The article debunked the claim that global warming was “slowing down,” or that the climate is less sensitive to human influence than previously thought, concluding instead that “the slowdown is the result of temporary, natural variations that may soon subside.” Dr. Broccoli explained that a combination of natural factors could be causing the slowdown, including a temporary cooling of the surface of the Pacific Ocean and an “unusually long solar minimum” lasting from 2005 to 2010.  


Congratulations to Judith Weis! Professor of Biological Sciences at the Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Sciences and Rutgers Climate Institute affiliate, Judith Weis, has recently published a book entitled Physiological, Developmental and Behavioral Effects of Marine Pollution.


The Center for Maritime Research (MARE)—People and the Sea VII Conference. Rutgers Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, Ariele Baker, recently attended the 7th People and the Sea Conference in Amsterdam this past June through a travel grant provided by the Rutgers Climate and Environmental Change Initiative. The conference was sponsored by the Center for Maritime Research. Ariele, along with two other Rutgers Ph.D. students, Angela Oberg, student in Planning at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and Julia Flagg, a PhD student in Sociology at Rutgers. They were part of an interdisciplinary team researching the effects of Hurricane Sandy on fishing communities in New Jersey. Their research is focused on the ways different fishing communities experienced Sandy, with preliminary results showing differential effects between commercial and recreational fishing communities.


Getting to Resilience. This online community planning evaluation tool is aimed at assisting communities to help reduce their vulnerability to climate change and increase preparedness by linking planning, mitigation, and adaptation. Through this assessment officials can learn how preparedness can be worth valuable points through FEMA’s Community Rating System and Sustainable Jersey.


Rutgers EcoComplex Wins Grant from EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program. The Rutgers EcoComplex has been awarded a grant by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program to undertake a comprehensive assessment of landfills and their related methane emissions in Turkey. The project will help build local capacity and involve relevant stakeholders while also documenting the characteristics of Turkish landfills in order to determine the amount of uncontrolled methane emissions from such locations. The project’s Principal Investigator will be Serpil Guran, Director of the Rutgers EcoComplex, while project management will be headed by Dave Specca. Contributing Rutgers faculty members also include Prof. Kevin Lyons and Prof. Mark Robson.


Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control—Climate Program Planner. The Division of Energy and Climate in the State of Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is seeking a highly motivated individual to support programs administrated through the Climate Section.  The position will support innovative climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives. The position is located in Dover, Delaware and is a one-year position that requires approximately 37.5 hours of work per week, paying $13-$17/hour depending on experience. Applicants are required to possess an undergraduate and/or graduate degree in climate sciences or policy, earth sciences, natural resources, law, environmental studies, environment or energy policy, land use planning, economics or related field. For more information and to apply submit a resume and cover letter to holly.layton@state.de.us and cc neelam.patel@state.de.us.


New Jersey Audubon Position—Stewardship Department Specialist. New Jersey Audubon is seeking to hire a Stewardship Department Specialist to support a variety of program delivery aspects including project tracking and reporting, budgeting, property record keeping, and implementation of fundraising events. The position is located in Port Murray, NJ and offers a salary commensurate with experience. A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of three years of experience with program and project management is required. To apply send a resume with cover letter and three professional references to John Cecil (john.cecil@njaudubon.org)


Scholarship for Students to Attend NJAFM Annual Conference. The New Jersey Association for Floodplain Management is supporting the education of undergraduate and graduate students interested in floodplain management by offering scholarships to the 2013 NJAFM Conference being held October 16-17 at the REVEL in Atlantic City, NJ. For more information and to apply click here.


100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge. To enable 100 cities to better address the increasing shocks and stresses of the 21st century, the Rockefeller Foundation has launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge. One hundred cities from across the globe will be selected to receive technical support and resources for developing and implementing plans for urban resilience. Municipal government leaders or major institutions that have a predominant association with a city and demonstrate collaborative partnership with a municipal government are encouraged to apply. For more information and to start the registration process click here. Registration Deadline: September 23, 2013.


Congratulations to CECI Affiliate, Professor Barbara Turpin for being selected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union for “visionary thinking about the role of aqueous chemistry in the formation of organic aerosol.” This prestigious honoris given out to no more than 0.1% of all AGU members in a given year.


August 6, 2013. Study Reveals Longer and Overlapping Pollen Seasons Related to Seasonal Warming. CECI affiliate, Leonard Bielory, M.D., a board certified specialist in allergy and immunology with the Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital has been leading multiple studies as part of his federal research funding to examine the impact of “Climate Change on Allergic Airway Disease.” The study predicts that allergy seasons are likely to become longer and more intense as a result of climate change which will cause plants to produce higher quantities of pollen and at earlier points in the year.


August 6, 2013. Rutgers researcher explores cooling atmosphere of Southeast Unites States. Annmarie Carlton, a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and CECI affiliate, has been in Alabama conducting a study focused on revealing why certain parts of the country are actually cooling rather than warming along with global climate change trends. The research suggests that organic compounds in the atmosphere emitted by forests interact with emissions from human activities to form ozone which effectively blocks out the sun.


August 2, 2013. NOAA: State of Climate in 2012. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has recently released the 2012 State of the Climate report. The report, designed to inform both the public and private sectors, provides up-to-date information on climate trends including temperature patterns, changes in the cryosphere, and sea level changes. The peer reviewed report, compiled by scientists across the world, provides a reliable update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on land, sea, ice, and sky.  2012 was one of the 10 warmest years on record worldwide. One of the defining events of the year was that Arctic sea ice melted to its lowest extent ever recorded. The Greenland ice sheet was also observed to exhibit some form of melt over 97 percent of its area during a two day span in July 2012. Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations rose after a period of slight decline associated with the global economic downturn, with concentrations exceeding 400 ppm at several Arctic observational sites.  . Click here to read the highlights of the report, or click here to download the full report.


August 2, 2013. Our Once and Future Oceans: Taking Lessons From Earth’s Past. In an effort to predict how earth’s ocean’s will be affected by rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, scientists are looking to a period of the earth’s history over 50 million ago when the planet was much hotter and carbon dioxide levels were much higher for clues. Paul Falkowski, a professor at Rutgers University notes that there could be significant changes to all the planet’s ecosystems as a result of changes to the ocean’s chemistry and hydrological processes.


July 31, 2013. Jersey Fresh: South Jersey farmers feel climate change effects, and making wine. Farmers in South Jersey are beginning to rethink what they grow as many of them are witnessing changes in New Jersey’s climate. The Heritage Family farm, located in Mullica Hill, is usually known for its peaches and apple production, but in more recent years, this family has been growing grapes, too. The warmer temperatures allow for grapes such as Malbec to be grown in the Garden State. Rich Heritage, director of marketing for the winery was quoted, "Climate change is definitely something we're aware of and we talk about." He noted, "We will have New Jersey's very first commercial release of Malbec and that's a clear-cut example of climate change allowing us to make new wines."


July 29, 2013. Global Warming, Development Lure Jellyfish to Barnegat Bay. According to Rutgers research Mike Kennish, a research professor with the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences as well as a CECI affiliate, Barnegat Bay has been experiencing increased numbers of stinging jellyfish over recent years as a result of global warming and coastal development. 


July 29, 2013. July expected to be among N.J.’s Top 10 hottest ever for 4th year straight. The last four Julys in New Jersey have been among the hottest ever recorded in the state, a trend that mirrors worldwide changes. Not only is summer becoming hotter at its peak but it is also covering a longer time period with June and September increasingly taking on summerlike characteristics. These changes have important impacts on the management of electric and water utilities. The state climatologist at Rutgers University and CECI affiliate Dave Robinson says that the changes are “remarkable” and that "it’s undeniable that New Jersey has gotten warmer."


July 29, 2013. Longer pollen seasons nothing to sneeze at. As a result of climate change, the pollen production of plants that commonly cause allergies is becoming more potent and lasting for longer periods of time. Warmer temperatures and increasing carbon dioxide concentrations are causing plants to produce more pollen and at earlier points in the year. Rutgers professor of environmental sciences and CECI affiliate Leonard Bielory has recorded the highest pollen levels this year in over a quarter century of monitoring which he notes could possibly be due to heavy precipitation events from last year such as Sandy.

July 8, 2013. Powering the Future: Will Algae Fuel Your Next Car? Scientists’ are increasingly looking to algae for its potential to replace petroleum because it is considered a carbon neutral energy source and does not compete with food crops in the way other biofuels such as corn-derived ethanol or vegetable oil do. Rutgers has one of the largest algae research centers in the nation where a team of researchers lead by Director of the Rutgers Energy Institute, Paul Falkowski is attempting to make algae more efficient in producing usable biofuel through genetic modification.


July 8, 2013. New Jersey Supreme Court Side with Harvey Cedars in Dune Compensation Case. The New Jersey Supreme Court has unanimously sided with the Borough of Harvey Cedars in an important case regarding the proper degree of compensation owed to homeowners in cases where eminent domain is applied to construct protective sand dunes along the shore. Lower courts had previously ruled that homeowners were due potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars per case for decreased property value associated with the construction of dunes. However, the N.J. Supreme Court ruled that the protective benefits derived from such dunes should be included in the calculation of the compensation packages, thus drastically reducing their potential payout. The ruling is considered a victory for municipalities along the shore who faced potentially prohibitive costs in implementing protective barriers and beach replenishment projects if the lower court ruling had stood.


July 1, 2013. Rutgers Film Bureau Tackles Most Exciting and Weighty Issues of Our Time. A Rutgers student film crew has been on location in Alabama to document the research of Rutgers Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and CECI affiliate Annmarie Carlton who is currently conducting experiments to help explain why the climate in this particular area is cooling rather than warming as it is across the globe. The current hypothesis is that chemicals produced by a particular forest in Alabama are combining with man-made chemicals to create a layer in the atmosphere that blocks the sun’s rays.


July 1, 2013. Ask a State Climatologist: Q & A with New Jersey’s David Robinson. As part of the Washington Post’s recently installed column “Ask a State Climatologist,” New Jersey State Climatologist and CECI affiliate Dave Robinson was asked about his day-to-day responsibilities, current research projects and recent weather patterns experienced in the State of New Jersey.


July 1, 2013. Incredible Technology: How to Engineer the Climate. The idea of using geoengineering to combat man-made climate change in the future is an extremely controversial scientific issue. Many scientists argue that the risks far outweigh the potential benefits, while some say that geoengineering could be a viable last ditch effort to help save the planet from the possibility of catastrophic climate change. Rutgers Professor of Environmental Sciences and CECI affiliate Alan Robock contends that at a minimum virtual testing of geoengineered solutions using existing climate models should be conducted in order to collect information on potential risks and benefits.

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